ST. PETERSBURG – May 6, 2008 –
With their mouths taped, 25 participants in Russia’s first ‘Day of Silence’
on Saturday, took turns to hold a banner that said: “I am silent to be
And flyers were also handed out to
passers-by in St. Petersburg’s Chernyshevskiy Park.
For two hours, the participants
remained silent as they took their public stand against discrimination
emotional harassment, violence, hate crimes, and intolerance based on sexual
orientation and gender identity.
Initially, the city authorities
gave permission for a demonstration. But this was overturned by ‘City Hall’
days before the event.
So, organisers scaled-down their
plans, and what took place was individual protest in the park – individual
rallies do not require preliminary approval by the authorities.
The Day of Silence is St.
Petersburg finished at 2 pm with “mass applause and cheering”, symbolising
that the ‘wall of silence’ would be brought down.
Following the event, rally
participants walked to the metro station Ploschad Vosstaniya, escorted by a
militia (police) vehicle.
The rally in the park went without
incident. But following the rally, there was an attack on two of the
participants as the made their way to a nearby café.
Igor Petrov, one of the
co-organisers of Day of Silence, and Ignat Fialkovskiy, the press secretary
of the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Side by Side, were
attacked by three strangers.
Fortunately, the activists got away
with only a couple of bumps and bruises that were confirmed at a trauma
centre. The incident was reported to the militia.
The Day of Silence on Saturday was
also marked in Novokuznetsk (3,000 km east of Moscow) and Yaroslavl (260 km
north east of Moscow) in the form of a “flash mob.”
In Novokuznetsk, the event had 20
participants, volunteers who joined-in thanks to an invitation sent through
“Despite the bad weather, the
“flash mob” was a success – many citizens received flyers explaining why the
issue of silencing is relevant and what consequences it has,” a spokesperson
“This event also did not go
trouble-free – the “flash mob” participants were attacked by a group of
skinheads, one young man was injured.”
“flash mob” in Novokuznetsk on Saturday.
Russian LGBT Network
The organiser of the group from
Yaroslavl reported that nine people took part in their “flash mob”.
“The participants divided into
groups of two or three people and headed in different directions,” the
“Only a few people reacted
negatively to the offered flyers – they were three young men who, in their
own words, turned out to be Nazis, and one very religious old woman.
“All in all, more than 600 flyers
were distributed by the Day of Silence participants in Yaroslavl.”
There might not have been a massive
turnout for the events in the three cities, but organisers said it was “a
“We were able to achieve the most
important thing – the word about the problem of emotional harassment and
violence, discrimination and intolerance based on sexual orientation and
gender identity reached many people, while the attacks on the participants
of the event in St. Petersburg and Novokuznetsk confirmed the relevance of
the problem,” one participant said..
“We would like to stress that it
was important for the organisers of the Day of Silence in Russia to hold the
event in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation and to
ensure maximum safety for the event participants, which was achieved.”
This year, the Day of Silence went
“international” with events in the USA, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the
Gay Activists Attacked in St. Petersburg.
attacked gay activists after a Day of Silence picket in Chernyshevsky Park
in St. Petersburg on Saturday. (Interfax, May 4, 2008)
Gay Activists Plastered Mouths, Gathered in Park in St. Petersburg.
Sexual minority groups in St. Petersburg gathered for a rally on Saturday to
mark the Day of Silence, despite an official ban. (Interfax, May 4,
Petersburg City Authorities Do U-Turn on Gay ‘Day of Silence’.
The authorities in St. Petersburg
have unexpectedly changed their decision and will not approve the mass rally
dedicated to the International Day of Silence – the first in Russia, it
emerged this afternoon. (UK Gay News, May 1, 2008)
to Stage ‘Day of Silence’ in St. Petersburg Next Month.
Gay men and women in St. Petersburg
will be marking the first-ever Russian
Day of Silence on Saturday May 3 with a rally on Malaya Konyushennaya
Street. (UK Gay News, April 26, 2008)
||Russian 'Day of Silence' website
||website (in English)
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Posted: 6 May 2008 at
15:00 (UK time)
updated 6 May at 18:00